Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

Review: David Schalliol/Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Architecture, Design, Galleries & Museums, Lincoln Park, Photography, Public Art No Comments »
David Schalliol. "The Rise of the 606 and its Bloomingdale Trail," 2015.

David Schalliol. “The Rise of the 606 and its Bloomingdale Trail,” 2015.


One of the most inspired recent additions to Chicago’s public spaces is The 606, a trail that follows the tracks of the once-abandoned elevated Bloomingdale train line that runs in a straight line through Humboldt Park, Logan Square, Wicker Park and Bucktown. To be on the trail is to be transported to a world that is apart from and above the city, yet is immersed in it, as the tops of buildings at times form walls on both sides. The experience is invigorating and empowering, especially because the line has been left in a partly rough state. It is a place where people can jog, stroll and walk down to several ground-level parks that dot the route. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Julie Rodrigues Widholm Named New Director of DePaul Art Museum

Lincoln Park, Michigan Avenue, News etc. No Comments »
Julie Rodrigues Widholm. Photo by Nathan Keay.

Julie Rodrigues Widholm/Photo: Nathan Keay

DePaul University announced Wednesday its selection of Julie Rodrigues Widholm as the next director of the DePaul Art Museum. Widholm, a curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, has been with the MCA since 1999, starting as a research assistant and rising through the ranks. She holds a master’s degree in art history, theory and criticism from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Currently, Widholm curates three to seven exhibitions a year, amassing a portfolio of more than fifty exhibitions at the MCA. She starts at DePaul August 31. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Collin Pressler Appointed Curator at the International Museum of Surgical Science

Galleries & Museums, Lincoln Park, News etc. No Comments »
Collin Pressler, recently appointed curator at the International Museum of Surgical Science.

Collin Pressler, recently appointed curator at the International Museum of Surgical Science

Collin Pressler, a Newcity art section contributor, has been appointed as curator at the International Museum of Surgical Science (IMSS). Pressler’s work in this position will engage with artists and scientific advisors as he manages the production of IMSS exhibitions, overseeing researching, conceptualizing, designing and financing.

Pressler, who has written for Newcity since June 2014, has curated projects previously at the 4th Ward Project Space in Hyde Park as well as at The Chicago Perch, and has additionally overseen exhibitions in various dimensions the past two years at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Along with curating medically oriented exhibitions at IMSS, Pressler will also help grow art programs at the museum, including the Artist in Residence program and “Anatomy in the Gallery.” Justina Doyle, manager of education and events at IMSS, writes, “He will be working diligently to expand our newly opened Pathology exhibit, as well as exhibits on the work of Andreas Vesalius and Cardiology.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Bill Sosin/Chicago Art Source

Lincoln Park, Photography No Comments »
Bill Sosin. "Mirage"

Bill Sosin. “Mirage”


Shooting the streets and sidewalks of Chicago in color, at any time of day and night, through the windows of his car when heavy and clinging rains are falling, Bill Sosin captures the miasma in which we are enveloped at those moments. If we are not too drenched and assaulted by the wind and the chill to notice, such scenes can have a rough yet melting beauty for us, with which Sosin is enthralled. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Paul D’Amato/DePaul Art Museum

Lincoln Park, Photography 8 Comments »
"Mike and Doug," 2010. Courtesy of the artist and Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago.

“Mike and Doug,” 2010. Courtesy of the artist and Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago.


Back in the day, as a young social photographer, Paul D’Amato went out into Chicago’s black and Hispanic neighborhoods with the wish of so many of the young middle-class white males of his generation: to connect with the homies or, as sociologists say, to get a shot of “prestige from below”—mean, tragic and vitalizing street style.

Now middle aged, D’Amato has continued to hang around the ‘hood, but he has shifted his approach to the more restrained and sedate project of shooting color portraits of its residents. D’Amato’s images place his subjects in their own environments, but they are decidedly formal and still, as though the subjects were in the studio.

D’Amato never became a homie; he stayed, but he retreated to the role of the photographer who comes to the scene with the practices from whence he came. That perhaps harsh judgment can be readily confirmed by examining the representation of D’Amato’s subjects. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Gifts from the Koffler Collection/DePaul Art Museum

Lincoln Park, Painting No Comments »
Robert Louis Thompson, "Shepherding," 1965

Robert Louis Thompson, “Shepherding,” 1965


In 1971, Samuel and Blanche Koffler, originally from New York, began a charitable foundation to collect contemporary Chicago art. A board of five administrators—including a painter, a sculptor, an art historian, a critic and museum director—selected the acquisitions, many of which were donated to the Smithsonian Museum about ten years later. Last fall, ninety-five additional artworks were donated to the recently built  DePaul Art Museum, fifteen of which have now been selected for temporary display.

Much of this collection was built by experts, Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Jodi Swanson (Alempijevic)/Chicago Photography Center

Lincoln Park, Photography No Comments »
"Chained Soul"

“Chained Soul”


Right up front about using photography to express her ever-incomplete journey of self-discovery, Jodi Swanson (Alempijevic) does not specialize, deploying whatever technique and genre depicts the mood that she wants to represent to herself and communicate to viewers. Whether she is shooting in black-and-white or color; going straight or venturing into digital manipulation; posing models in formal studies or turning the camera on herself; or capturing slices of life on the streets, meditating on natural forms, or flirting with surrealism, Swanson is always intensely passionate—she is addicted to feeling and she is a consummate pusher who knows how to break through our emotional resistance. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: War Baby/Love Child/DePaul Art Museum

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Gina Osterloh, "Collapse," 2006. Light jet print.

Gina Osterloh, “Collapse,” 2006. Light jet print.


The most recent and arguably the most diverse group to emerge on the crowded scene of contemporary identity politics is the “mixed-race Asian American,” which receives a rich visual reflection here by seven photographers who in portraits and staged scenarios concentrate on the confusions involved in determining with which larger group they should identify, or whether they should form a distinctive blended group all their own. Some of the artists, indeed, would not even consider themselves to be Asian, but European or Mexican, for example, and others are in flux. No wonder, then, that a persistent theme in the show is the condition of feeling that one is “hidden.” Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Jerry Goldner/Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Lincoln Park, Photography No Comments »

Jerry Goldner Barred#37D6B1RECOMMENDED

In an expertly and elegantly curated exhibition that serves as a model for the presentation of wildlife photography, Chicago shooter Jerry Goldner introduces us to nine widely different species of owls—most of which he caught in our sweet home of Illinois—in close-up color images that provide us with an intimacy with the fable creatures that we would never get otherwise. Using a 600mm lens and an extender, Goldner, an environmental activist, never gets close enough to his prey to let them know that they are under surveillance, which is why his subjects show us who they are on their own. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Climate Of Uncertainty/DePaul Art Museum

Installation, Lincoln Park, Photography, Sculpture, Video No Comments »
Chris Jordan, from "Midway Message from the Gyre," 2009–2010

Chris Jordan, from “Midway Message from the Gyre,” 2009–2010


A gamut of environmentalist photography cataloging the depredations that our species has wrought on planet Earth is on display here, ranging from Terry Evans’ series that make destruction look seductively appealing (usually not the shooter ’s intent), through images that aestheticize spoliation with a disturbing undercurrent, to outright assaults on the eye that leave us in no doubt that we are witnessing something awful. Of the seven practiced artists here, working predominantly in color and in different corners of the world, only Chris Jordan dares to lacerate our sensibilities to the max, with his series, from the Pacific Midway Atoll, depicting dead albatrosses, their guts open revealing a mess of plastic garbage that they have snarfed up in their quest for a meal. Read the rest of this entry »